Angry Europe takes to the street

Amidst layoffs and gloomy predictions that Europe’s recovery from recession has stalled, the continent is faced with an unprecedented wave of industrial action. From Dublin to Athens protestors are resisting budget cuts and wage-reductions drives.

Published on 24 February 2010 at 11:16

A wave of industrial and social unrest is building across Europe as workers resist attempts by governments and private companies to impose austerity policies, drive down wages and rescue some nations from near-bankruptcy. Huge protest rallies took place in cities across Spain last night; today a general strike could paralyse Greece while industrial action at French airports and oil plants as well as the narrowly averted stoppage at Germany’s Lufthansa promise to be just the start of the greatest demonstration of public unrest seen on the continent since the revolutionary fervour of 1968. Europe’s industrial economy is not clear of recession yet either and with unemployment rising and demands for austerity growing, Europe’s workers are becoming increasingly restive.

Italy’s beleaguered car giant Fiat abruptly suspended production across all its Italian plants this week, laying off a workforce of 30,000 people for two weeks and further closures are forecast for next month. There are signs meanwhile that confidence is sagging under the weight of unrelenting media gloom about the Greek crisis. The Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, voiced his concern that Europe’s recovery has now “stalled”, a development with grim repercussions for the British economy. The much-feared “double dip” recession seems to be becoming inevitable. Read full article in the Independent

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